(A2-18) The Relation between Morality and Religion in the Works of Johann Michael Sailer and Immanuel Kant. A Contribution to the Secularisation Debate

The theological engagement with the modern age has by no means come to an end – debates about the right notion of God, about the relation between morality and religion or about an appropriate understanding of nature are proof of that. A research desideratum in this context is the early Catholic engagement with modern thought – which had long been overshadowed by the major idealistic system designs of predominantly Protestant thinkers, and which was marginalised in the course of the rehabilitation of new scholastic thought at the end of the 19th century. The moral theologian Johann Michael Sailer, powerful in his time but religio-philosophically scarcely received, will be investigated in the project as an early representative of the “Catholic modern age”.

The work centres on the engagement of Johann Michael Sailer with Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, which may be considered exemplary for the acquirement of Kantian ethics by a Catholic moral theologian in the late 18th and early 19th century. As Sailer’s work has already been well-explored as to its reception-historical dependence – those of Gerard Fischer being the relevant studies in this regard –, Sailer’s reception of Kant’s practical philosophy can be examined specifically with systematic considerations, thus evaluating it for the profile of a philosophical theology and of theological ethics pre-shaped by the incipient modern age.

The Project is part of coordinated project group The liquefaction and solidification of normativity.